Tornado relief missing the South's poor and rural communities

Relief efforts are underway in response to the violent outbreak of tornadoes that devastated swaths of the South last week, killing more than 350 people with hundreds of others still missing. However, those efforts are proving a challenge in some poor and rural communities devastated by the storms.

Reports are emerging that some hard-hit areas are being left out of needed assistance due to their isolation and the fact that their plight is not being reported in the media. While news coverage has focused largely on the destruction in urban areas including the Alabama cities of Tuscaloosa and Birmingham, the storms also impacted many small rural communities in Alabama's Black Belt.

Video tutorial on how Regressives are pushing us back to 1920s

If you're looking for a very good, simple and direct explanation of how this country has become so Regressive in economics as well as socially, this is a good video.

As a side note, if you're not familiar with "The Real News," you should get on their mailing list. They do good work keeping the progressive voice from getting drowned out by all the Right Wing blather from both parties.

Privatization of Government

New study on privatization claims it simply does not work, and documents it. In fact, privatization sucks.

Here are some impacts the Cornell University Hebdon Report found that result from privatization:

-diminished quality and access to services

-lower employee morale, productivity and training

-worker exploitation through lower wages and benefits

-increased discrimination against minorities and women

-loss of government control and sovereignty

-lost constitutional and other legal rights

-decreased efficiency as a result of difficulty monitoring and administrating contracts

-loss of accountability and control

lost infrastructure

-increased corruption, bribery, kickbacks, bid-rigging, campaign donations, low-ball bids, and contractor bankruptcy

-higher direct costs or hidden costs to pay for the loss of pensions and benefits of public employees

-increased conflict, strikes, grievances, and arbitrations

McHenry tips GOP's plan to marginalize minorities?

McHenry is already doing a dance because he and his Regressive gang are about to re-draw the NC map to cut out minorities that have kept the WingNuts at bey.

Has he let the cat out of the bag a little too soon? We can only hope the Progressives in the state are not asleep at the wheel on this.
http://www.newsobserver.com/2011/05/05/1176188/mchenry-gop-will-draw-districts.html

Miranda warning in NC to be revised:

"If you cannot afford an attorney, here's a well-dressed hand puppet."

Defense attorneys are removing their names from being considered as court-appointed counselors after learning the $75-per-hour fee for representing indigent clients is likely to drop substantially under the next state budget, court officials said Wednesday.

It's not surprising the GOP would cut from this program. The indigent are (for the most part) not property owners, they are far less likely to vote than the average citizen, and they damned sure ain't writin' no checks at fundraisers. But they are still protected by the Bill of Rights of the US Constitution:

Art Pope gets what he wants

For those citizens of North Carolina who live outside the radius served by the Independent Weekly, they recently published an excellent article about House Bill 129. The innocently titled "level the playing field" bill is a Civitas/AFP-backed agenda item to prevent local governments from establishing their own municipal broadband service and thereby compete with the big telecom companies. The same companies who currently enjoy big tax breaks to bring us overpriced broadband services that still ranks among the slowest in the developed world.

Pope propaganda machine in overdrive

A doctored photo of the Governor with a Chinese military cap on her head. Isn't that just wonderful? This was included in a propaganda e-mail I received this morning from the "think-tank". What's worse than this picture, though, is the story behind it. A study in the use of xenophobia to attack the political opposition, using one of North Carolina's larger employers as the fall guy:

House budget not draconian enough for Berger

In the wake of a contentious vote in the NC House for a job-destroying budget that relies on five turncoat Dems to keep it Veto-proof, the leader of the Senate warns of deeper cuts:

“I think the Senate budget will come closer to the original targets. In other words, the Senate budget will probably spend slightly less than what House lawmakers will pass this week."

In other, other words: The Senate and the House are now competing with each other to see who can do the most damage to our state. At the core of Berger's plan of destruction is a Bush-style tax cut totalling $630 million. Apparently the budget deficit isn't quite big enough yet:

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